Read Luke 15:17-20
17 When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, 19 and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’
20 “So he returned home to his father. (NLT)
There are two critical mistakes we can make in our life. One is to go away from God. The other and greater mistake is to stay away from God. The young man in this familiar parable of the prodigal son mistakenly thought that independence from his father meant freedom. Instead it meant misery in the pigsties of a far country.
But at least he realised his mistake. He didn’t wilfully go on pretending all was well when it was not. He did not sink into despair reckoning he had blown his last chance and there was now no hope for him.
Instead, he went back home. He had come to a dead-end, reached the end of his tether. So he figured that pretence and despair were not to define him and turned towards home. This is what Christians call repentance. A recognition that we are on the wrong track and taking steps to get back on the right track.
The right track always leads back to our heavenly Father. And this man’s track led back to the familiar surroundings of his father’s property. The right track always leads back to truth and hope and love. These are found in our God, and in the young man’s case, found in the family home.
There is always a way back if we will only realise we need to take it. No far country is too far away. Mistakes lead us to pigsties. Recognition of those mistakes can lead us back home.